22 Nov 2023 12:00 - 14:00 Online


An event by the Indigenous Studies Discussion Group


  • Su-mei Lo (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Taiwan Center of Pacific Studies, National Taiwan University)
  • Deborah McGregor (Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University
  • Erin O’Donnell (Senior Lecturer, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne)


Benny Shen (University of Cambridge)


The panel explores the colonial and post-colonial agenda of dispossessing and expelling Indigenous communities in the name of environmentaland wildlife conservation across the world, and the recent efforts towardsenvironmental and Indigenous justice through Indigenous stewardship. Panellists from Australia, Canada, and Taiwan discussed topics including Indigenous environmental and climate justice, traditional ecological knowledge, and Indigenous water sovereignty.

About the speakers

Dr Su-mei Lo is an Associate Professor at the Department of Anthropology, National Taiwan University and the Director of the Taiwan Center for Pacific Studies. She received her PhD in Anthropology from the Écoledes hautes études en sciences sociales, France, and had previously held the position of Assistant Professor at the Institute of Austronesian Culture, National Taitung University. Her research expertise lies in cultural anthropology, ritual study, and comparative research on Austronesian People in Taiwan and South-east Asia. She has worked extensively on ritual, gender, and environmental issues with the Indigenous Community, Amis of ‘Etolan in the Southeastern coast of Taiwan since 1997. She is currently studying the women’s rituals, wild edible plants, revival of millet cultivation, food system, and migrant knowledge in contemporary Amis society.

Dr Deborah McGregor (Anishinaabe from Whitefish River First Nation, Birch Island, Ontario) is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice at the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University. She joined York University’s Osgoode Hall law faculty in 2015 as a cross-appointee with the Faculty of Environmental Studies & Urban Change. Professor McGregor’s research has focused on Indigenous knowledge systems and their various applications in diverse contexts including water and environmental governance, environmental justice, forest policy and management, and sustainable development. Her research has been published in a variety of national and international journals and she has delivered numerous public and academic presentations relating to Indigenous knowledge systems, governance and sustainability. She co-edited Indigenous Peoples and Autonomy: Insights for a Global Age with Mario Blaser, Ravi De Costa and William Coleman (2010). She is co-editor (with Alan Corbiere, Mary Ann Corbiere and Crystal Migwans) of the Anishinaabewin conference proceedings series.

Dr Erin O’Donnell is a Senior Lecturer and ARC Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne Law School. Erin is a water law and policy expert, and she is recognized internationally for her research into the ground-breaking new field of legal rights for rivers. Her work explores the challenges and opportunities these new rights create for protecting the multiple social, cultural and natural values of rivers. Her work is informed by comparative analysis across Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, the USA, Bangladesh, India, Colombia, and Chile. She has also worked for the World Bank, examining water markets and their role in water security and sustainable development. Since 2018, Erin has been a member of the Birrarung Council, the voice of the Yarra River in Melbourne. Erin works in partnership with Traditional Owners across Australia on a range of projects, including leading the Cultural Water for Cultural Economies project. In 2023, Erin commenced an ARC-funded research fellowship to explore the opportunity of treaty to address aqua nullius, increase Traditional Owner power and resources in water, and create more sustainable and legitimate settler state water laws. Erin’s latest book, Legal Rights for Rivers: Competition, Collaboration, and Water Governance, is available now from Routledge.

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